Good morning! Based on various messages and comments I’ve seen, I think my rants against overexfoliating have caused some of you to stop exfoliating altogether. I cannot emphasize enough how important exfoliation is for combination/oily skin. You cannot control your breakouts without exfoliating. My intention was never to make you stop exfoliating. Rather, it was to teach you to exfoliate properly. I know we Americans are bad at nuance, so I understand.
For combination/oily skin, you need to exfoliate 2-3X per week, one time per day (if you wash your face twice a day, don’t exfoliate both times). If you are dealing with severe acne, you can exfoliate once a day, every other day. You can exfoliate using physical methods like the Five Fruit exfoliating face wash, or you can use chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. If your skin is more combination than oily, AHAs or physical exfoliation are better for you. If you are dealing with severe acne or hormonal acne, you need to use beta hydroxy acids to exfoliate. This is because BHAs are oil-soluble, so they are able to solubilize the pore’s contents and clear it out. The most common BHA used for this purpose is salicylic acid.
You may see products out there that combine AHAs and BHAs. When mixed together, they are synergistic, meaning together they are stronger than they are individually. Do NOT use a combo of AHAs and BHAs as a regular treatment. If your acne is severe, you can do a mask once a month with these two together maybe once a month. But real talk, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can really damage your skin. I really don’t like these kinds of products.
In general, acneic skin needs 3 things to combat breakouts:
2) antibacterial actives to kill pimple-causing bacteria
3) anti-inflammatory actives to reduce redness and irritation.
You need to have all three in your regimen.
So, even though it may be hard, I need you not to hear about how overexfoliation is bad and then decide never to exfoliate again. You need to exfoliate PROPERLY, in a way that works for your skin type. I know many of you shut down when presented with choices in skincare, preferrring to have someone tell you what to use. I am not gonna do that. You live in your skin, I don’t, so YOU need to educate yourself and decide what’s best to put on it. I spend so much time writing educational posts so you are empowered to do just that. Good skincare practices are not hard to incorporate into your life, and the resulting awesome skin is totally worth it! #themoreyouknow